Mountain Biking

Love on the Mountain Bike Trail – The New York Times

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Mini-Vows

Credit…Jamie West McGiver

On Friday afternoons in the tiny Adirondack town of Wilmington, N.Y., local mountain bike enthusiasts gather for “Hardy hour” at the Hardy Road trailhead.

“People congregate there, and go on rides and have a beer, maybe meeting a couple friends there,” said Gwyneth Voyer-McGiver, 30, who was relatively new to both the sport and the town. “I had showed up to Hardy hour alone. I was socially putting myself out there.”

Matthew McNamara, who is 41 and both experienced at mountain biking and well established in the town, didn’t neglect to notice. “I saw her in the parking lot, and as we were going up this long hill and I passed her on the trail,” he said.

She said she had heard about him through people she knew, and as he went by her, she said, “I was out of breath but was trying to be friendly and act cool.”

They chatted a bit at the top. “I could tell he was definitely interested,” she said.

When it started to get dark, they put on headlamps and waited until the other bikers had gone ahead before getting back on the trail. He stopped her at one point and told her to douse her light.

“You could see everybody’s headlamps zigzagging below on the switchbacks,” she said. She saw not just the magic in the moment but that he’d thought to share it, too.

Once home, she began checking up on him. She called a cousin, Justin McGiver, who lived nearby. “I asked if he thought he was a good guy,” she said. “My cousin is the same age as Matt, and said, ‘We’re old men. You got to go after him. He’s not going to believe someone your age is interested in him.’”

She said she found Mr. McNamara on Facebook, and “I sent him a message saying, ‘We should ride again.’”

Mr. McNamara, a planner for the Adirondack Park Agency, reviewing land management, and a graduate of the University of Vermont, said, “I was pretty excited to get to see her again.”

For a first date, they went on another mountain bike ride, in nearby Saranac Lake, N.Y., and then afterward to trivia night at a local bar. A first kiss soon followed, as did more dates and more trail rides.

“She’s got really, really beautiful eyes and a beautiful smile that lights up the area,” Mr. McNamara said.

In the spring, as a sort of stress test for their relationship, the couple piled into Mr. McNamara’s 1990 Ford Econoline and drove down the Mid-Atlantic coast to North Carolina, stopping along the way to go mountain biking.

“That’s when I definitely fell in love with him,” Ms. Voyer-McGiver said.

In summer 2018, they moved in together. Ms. Voyer-McGiver recently completed training as a registered nurse (though the traditional “pinning” ceremony was a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic) and has applied for work at a hospital in Saranac Lake. She graduated from the State College at Purchase.

“I think we kind of knew that marriage was coming down the pipeline after that,” he said.

On April 23, the two hiked to a viewpoint that they can see from their house, and were married. Mr. McGiver, the cousin, who is a Universal Life minister, officiated; his wife, Jamie West-McGiver, who is a photographer, took pictures.

After the wedding, the two did not rush home for a first pedal together as a married couple. “But there is a good chance any honeymoon of ours will involve mountain biking,” Ms. Voyer-McGiver said.